TRADE FINANCE | Roxanne Uy, Singapore

Find out more about the ambitious 2015 Asia strategy of SWIFT's new deputy chief executive for Asia Pacific

Patrick de Courcy shares his 3 goals following his appointment.

SWIFT recently announced organisational changes in Asia Pacific. The financial messaging provider revealed that it will be maintaining its strategic programmes in greater China, India and ASEAN, while investing more staff in its core competency of supporting the backbone of the financial industry – market infrastructures – not just in mature and growing economies but also in frontier markets.

As a result of these changes, Patrick de Courcy was named Deputy Chief Executive, Asia Pacific, in addition to maintaining his role as Head of Markets & Initiatives, Asia Pacific. He is also Acting Head of Sales, Asia Pacific until that position is filled. 

Asian Banking and Finance interviewed Patrick to learn more about his plans following his appointment.

ABF: What makes you excited about your new position?
It’s all about delivering what our customers need and to support them in the changes and growth that we’re experiencing in the region. We provide infrastructure that allows them to process transactions more efficiently, with less risk and more scalability, and connect them to the rest of the world.

The internationalisation of the RMB, real-time payment solutions in Australia, a new generation of domestic payment systems in India, more integrated payment and securities infrastructures in ASEAN: these are examples of projects we’re working on in the region.

It’s broad, and ultimately relevant to the development of the region’s economy.

ABF: What three goals are you focused on?

  • To successfully execute our strategy: We have an ambitious 2015 Asia strategy that calls for achieving greater relevance domestically in the fast growing markets of China, India and in the overall ASEAN region. That in turn, means breaking new ground for SWIFT in terms of how we compete, the product portfolio we deliver and adapting to the realities on the ground. Achieving our strategic goals in the region is important for our customers and shareholders globally.
  • Bringing more customers to SWIFT: Our business is a network business, and the value of a network is in the number of end-points. We need to expand our footprint to include, beyond banks, more buy-side firms, regional and domestic brokers, and corporates. So it is critical for us to bring to market new low-investment, cloud based solutions to connect to SWIFT, to broaden our local presence in emerging markets, and to develop new partnerships and sales channels.
  • Increase our revenue streams: SWIFT is a cooperative company, we return any surplus in a given year to our customers in the form of rebates, and we reduce prices by 50% every five years. So why increase revenue? It is the measure of the value we deliver to customers in the region, and I want that value to grow, significantly.

ABF: What will you do differently in this position?
Spend less time in the office! We have evolved our organisation in the region and globally to be less monolithic, more agile and better able to respond to customer needs, especially to needs from specific segments or domestic and regional markets.

I’m looking forward for us to develop more intimacy with our customers so that we respond with the right solutions, at the right time.

ABF: What changes are you planning?
We recently announced organisational changes in Asia, which are in line with the needs of our customers and industry. While maintaining our strategic programmes in Greater China, India and the ASEAN region, we are investing more staff in our core competency of supporting the backbone of the financial industry – market infrastructures – not just in mature and growing economies but also in frontier markets.

We are also revamping the relationship management organisation to focus on geographic areas, with greater emphasis on ASEAN markets, and reinforcing our on-the-ground presence in eight offices across the region.

All of these changes reflect our continued commitment to supporting the growth of the region's real economy and the development in the global financial industry.

ABF: What are your key business philosophies?
I am a firm believer in collaboration, collaboration that comes from clarity of purpose and the will to achieve shared goals. It is the key driver to the industry’s success as well as our own.

As a member-owned cooperative, we are founded by and for the financial industry. For 40 years, we have been bringing the community together to work collaboratively to share market practice, define standards and consider solutions to issues of mutual concern and interest.

I am confident that through collaboration – with the financial community and within our organisation – we can achieve much more.

ABF: What previous positions prepared you for this one and how?
I was lucky enough to have contributed to some key defining challenges and successes for SWIFT: from our first inroads supporting domestic CSDs with CREST, building reach amongst corporates from two in 1997 to 1,000 plus today, steering our product offering through the change from X.25 to IP, bidding for our role supporting CLS, to growing our presence in Asia Pacific.

The common thread is that it all involved teamwork, innovation and risks, and were ultimately successful through partnership with our customers.

ABF: Anything else you'd like to add?
Yes, that I’m always amazed at the opportunities we all have to be challenged, learn and adapt. And that in Asia today, there is plenty of opportunity for all three: we are living through extraordinary changes, from a historical perspective, and it is a blessing to witness and be part of these changes.

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